Cover Art by Capri Brock
Othniel Seiden, MDDenver Senior Relationships Examiner
Let’s look at the facts ... dispel the myths.
Dispels the myths about sexuality in the elderly and states the facts as they are in the real world of senior citizens. See Sex In The Golden Years - the beat sex ever! at www.boomerbookseries.com
Sex after 50 … It’s never ever too late
Patricia Bloom, MD of Mount Sinai-New York University Medical reported for ABC News, March 16, 2000 regarding “Sex in the Elderly”
The level of sexual interest and activity among people over the age of 65 is as diverse as the individuals who make up that population. Survey of married men and women showed that 87% of married men and 89% of married women in the 60-64 age range are sexually active. Those numbers drop with advancing years, but 29% of men and 25% of women over the age of 80 are still sexually active. These figures would probably be higher if one or the other partner weren’t hindered by infirmities or if opportunity presented to widows or widowers
The older years are for many a time when children are no longer lurking in near-. By bedrooms, and there is no longer a need to rise early in the morning for work. Older age can be a time of freedom to explore sexual expression in ways never before possible
Recent studies showed that men who have more than two orgasms per week have lower mortality statistics. What is probably true is that people who are well, healthy and vigorous enough to engage in sexual activity are also healthier in general. Sexual activity, in its many forms, can be physically, intellectually, and spiritually fulfilling. It is often a good form of exercise, and it can stimulate the brain and promote good mental function. What is most important is to find the type of sexual expression that suits you best.
Some people, either by choice or by necessity, find much gratification in sexual self-stimulation. Many who have overcome resistance to this have been exhilarated by the experience especially with the availability of sex toys. Others explore sexual sharing in new ways with a longtime partner, or with new partners. Still others, especially elderly women, have discovered new intimacies with same-sex partners, even after spending most of their adult lives in heterosexual relationships. The key to satisfaction and sexual fulfillment in later life is individual choice.
There are many bodily changes as we age, and some can modify our sexual experience in later years. Both women and men experience slower arousal responses. This can lead to anxiety in people who do not understand that this change is normal. Women’s bodies change in some of the following ways: The lips of the vagina (the labia) and the tissue covering the pubic bone lose some of their firmness. The walls of the vagina become less elastic. The vagina itself becomes drier. The clitoris can become highly sensitive, even too sensitive.
The entire male sexual response tends to slow down in the following ways: There is a delay in erection. There is a need for more manual stimulation to achieve an erection. The “plateau” phase, or period between erection and ejaculation, is prolonged. Orgasm is shorter and less forceful. The penis loses its firmness rapidly after ejaculation. The refractory period can be quite long, even up to a week in very elderly men.
Many chronic diseases can also modify sexual expression. Among them coronary artery disease; coronary artery disease may lead to chest pain with sexual activity, or fear of having a heart attack during sex. Chronic lung disease can lead to breathlessness. Arthritis may impair the ability to use some positions for sex. Embarrassment over the loss of a breast, or the presence of a colostomy bag or some other apparatus, may inhibit free sexual expression, especially with a new partner. For other people, medications taken for many chronic diseases, especially hypertension and heart diseases may cause either a loss of libido or impaired performance.
There are numerous ways in which men and women can adapt to aging changes and continue to be, or become, a sexually active. Realize that sexual arousal takes longer and requires more manual stimulation. Take all the time that you often didn’t have in younger years to pleasure each other or yourself. Share what makes you feel good with your partner. Take time to explore all the tactile, visual, auditory, and even olfactory aspects of intimacy. Make adequate lubrication part of your routine, to avoid irritation of the vagina or painful intercourse. A water-based lubricant is best; oil-based lubricants and petroleum products such as Vaseline may be difficult to flush out of the vagina, possibly causing irritation or infection. You should make applying the lubricant part of your lovemaking routine.
Some women with extreme vaginal dryness and irritation may benefit from vaginal estrogens, effects of estrogens, both positive and negative, should be discussed with your doctor. If you use estrogen cream, use as little as is effective for as short a time as possible to get the desired effect. If you are taking oral estrogens for other reasons, you will probably experience beneficial effects on the vagina.
For older men; be patient. Realize that more stimulation is required to achieve an erection. If you can’t achieve a satisfying or effective erection despite prolonged manual stimulation, you may be one of many men who experience erectile dysfunction. See your doctor, who may well be able to treat the problem. If you are taking medications that may be impairing your sexual performance, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Let him or her know that sexual activity is important to you. Frequently, medications can be substituted that have less effect on sexual activity.
If the above suggestions are not sufficient to help you achieve the level of activity you desire, ask for help; your primary care doctor, urologist, or gynecologist may be able to help, or may refer you to a sex therapist.
Some men and women may question whether age can affect the chances of success in becoming multi-orgasmic. There is no reason why sexually mature men or women of any ages shouldn't find success, as long as they are capable of being sexually active. If you have no trouble reaching orgasms, either with a partner or by yourself, then becoming multi-orgasmic should only be a matter of patience, determination, and practice. In fact studies have shown that women often become more orgasmic as they age up and through their ninth decade.
If you do have trouble achieving erection, orgasms or responding sexually alone or with a partner, then perhaps there are other issues that you need to deal with, with your medical advisor or councilors. This book is not designed to address such problems. If you are experiencing such problems, we strongly recommend you consider consulting your healthcare provider or a therapist. Only they should be able to provide you with the professional advice you need. But please do not hesitate to get such professional help because the human animal should be a sexual critter throughout life. Lack of the ability to respond and be sexually active may well be a signal that there is some other physical health problem, medication problem or psychological problem which needs correction.
There are numerous emotional and physical benefits from frequent sex
There are many emotional and physical benefits gained by having frequent, safe monogamous sex and orgasms.
For starters, people who have more frequent sex tend to live longer. They enjoy lower mortality rates from almost all causes of death. Men for example have a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Both men and women have a reduced risk of heart disease. There is general improvement of the couple’s fitness level. A couple’s frequent sex has a therapeutic effect on their immune systems. Frequent sex and orgasm appears to improve bladder control. Sex with orgasm offers pain-relief as well as relieving menstrual cramps.
Frequent sex with orgasm improves one’s digestion and helps people fall to sleep faster and sleep better and deeper. Frequent sex especially with orgasm stimulates chemicals in the brain to stimulate the growth of new neuron connections and helps memory. Frequent sex helps couples achieve weight loss by burning up to 200 calories during 30 minutes of active sex. Couples who have more frequent sex appear to have less-frequent colds and flu. Lots of vigorous sex improves posture and firms tummy muscles and buttocks.
On the emotional side, frequent sex and orgasm boosts self esteem, makes a person feel younger and gives people a positive attitude on life. Mutually gratifying sex keeps couples connected emotionally, increasing their commitment to each other. Frequent orgasm has a calming affect on a person and makes that person less irritable. Frequent orgasm reduced depression, lowers feelings of insecurity and promotes an individual’s or couple’s ability to cope and solve problems.
By the way, to all you athletic and team coaches the latest studies are showing it to be a myth that abstinence before a game can sharpen the competitive edge. Be a good guy and let your teams, men or women athletes satisfy their sexual needs.
Don’t let anyone tell you that sex is no longer a need for someone your age!